Global snacks and drinks company Pepsico has chosen 10 start-ups from the Middle East and North Africa regions (MENA) to take part in its Greenhouse Accelerator Programme, in an attempt to create more sustainable solutions in the food and drinks packaging and waste space.
During the six-month-long programme, the selected start-ups will be given a grant of $20,000 to support their operations and the scaling up of their companies.
The start-ups will also receive mentorship from professionals at both Pepsico and Food Tech Valley, a UAE initiative aiming to increase the level of food production in the country. They will be able to advise them on their business models, R&D, product development, and marketing procedure.
Support will also be given for issues such as label claims, packaging, fundraising and supply chain challenges.
The 10 companies will also have the chance to showcase their innovative products to potential investors and influential technology experts at the Step Conference taking place in Dubai, of which Pepsico is a partner and sponsor.
By the end of the six-month programme, one of the 10 start-ups will be named overall winner, allowing them to access a Pepsico grant of $100,000, as well as the opportunity to connect to new investors, facilities, and experts in the F&B field.
Since its launch in 2021, the Greenhouse Accelerator Programme has received over 70 applications from start-ups working in the MENA area.
In order to finalise their selection, judges picked start-ups that were actively developing new technologies for the food industry which have a limited impact on the environment. Some initiatives include creating eco-friendly food packaging, finding ways to reduce packaging on certain products, and finding more sustainable recycling options.
The 10 selected start-ups named by Entrepreneur Europe are:
- Nadeera (UAE) offering digital solutions for managing solid waste sorting
- Cycled Technologies AS (UAE) who uses an AI-powered technology in the form of a Smart Bin to separate recyclable products from general waste when being disposed
- Tridentech (UAE) has developed a technology which uses waste to create Terrax-based products including waste pipes, floors, shelves, furniture and logistics containers
- Al Tabeeah (UAE) works to create compostable and biodegradable packaging products made from Areca leaves, Sal leaves, Bagasse and Kraft paper
- We4Recycle (UAE) is a platform that aims to bring together initiatives for recycling and reducing waste in households
- Okeanos (KSA) produces calcium carbonate-based packaging to reduce plastic package waste
- MEHNA (Jordan) creates eco-friendly solutions for the industrial sector
- eRecycleHUB (Jordan) aims to digitise the recycling and waste management process
- Diwama (Lebanon) uses AI-powered image recognition technology which can perform automated waste analysis to better control food waste
- Live Love Recycle (Lebanon) aims to reduce food waste through its easy-to-use digital app, which allows consumers to dispose of multiple types of recyclable waste in a bag to be picked up and sorted by the Live Love Recycle team. The project was set up in 2017 in response to the food waste crisis which hit Lebanon in 2015, when the country’s last landfill site closed and no others were opened to replace it.
The CEO of the Middle East branch of Pepsico, Aamer Sheikh, said the Greenhouse Accelerator Programme is: “building a positive value chain and prioritising circularity and inclusivity through PepsiCo Positive (pep+), our strategic end-to-end transformation framework.
“We have received applications from an outstanding group of start-ups that are innovating in the field of sustainable packaging, and over the next six months, look forward to supporting them and contributing to helping the region as it doubles down on unleashing the potential of disruptors. We are delighted to welcome the support of both the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the Food Tech Valley, for this exciting edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator program.”
The project was launched by Pepisco in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
The drinks company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Food Tech Valley.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment said: “In the face of rising global challenges, innovative startups have proven to be rich sources of groundbreaking solutions to pressing economic and environmental sustainability issues. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is delighted to be a main partner of the Greenhouse Accelerator programme that seeks to harness the power of startups to make the food and beverage sector more sustainable. The initiative aligns with the UAE’s drive to shift towards a circular economy and is another example of how PepsiCo and the Food Tech Valley are inspiring positive change for the good of people and the planet.”
CEO of wasl Asset Management Group, a developer of Food Tech Valley, Hesham Al Qassim, added: “The startup ecosystem in the MENA has been on a growth trajectory, witnessing the introduction of a multitude of innovative businesses that have pushed the envelope in their respective fields. As such, it gives great pleasure to be signing this MoU in support of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator programme and regional innovators.
“Such initiatives are beneficial for our country and our government’s economic diversification plans as it gives pioneering individuals and start-ups the opportunity to showcase their solutions for a sustainable future. We will spare no effort in extending our full support to the winners and look forward to the sustainable ideas of the future,”.